Wednesday, September 29, 2010

King Django Quintet - Brooklyn Hangover

A bit of a strange album this as it is a live recording but as nearly all crowd reaction is removed from mix and it is not until the end of fourth song, the R&B mover ‘Hey Bartender’, when Django shares a bit of banter with the crowd and introduces the next number, the optimistic ‘Take Your Chances’, that you actually realise there are people there! Still a live set it is and was recorded at Southpaw, Brooklyn, USA in 2007 and features King Django, obviously, on lead vocals, ukulele, harmonica, melodica and trombone backed up by Justin Rothberg on guitar, Jess DeBellis on keyboards, Ira Heaps on bass guitar and Gregg Mervine on drums. The vibe that these boys create is uplifting and easy going, as they go through stripped down, raw versions of some of Django’s tunes from his many years in the music business with various guises like those of Stubborn All-Stars, Skinnerbox and Roots & Culture, the later being a body of work I’m not too familiar with, though having now heard the excellent ‘A Single Thread’ this is something I will be looking to remedy.
Generally when I think of King Django I always tend to associate him with ska, but what I liked most about this album is it reminded me how well Django spreads himself across varying styles of reggae from dancehall on ‘Fistful a Riddim’ and closer ‘LKO’, taken from the ‘Roots Tonic’ album and 2000’s multi-genre mixing ‘Reason’ respectively, to the mighty bass led, rootsy ‘Precipice’, also from ‘Reason’ to what is one of my favourite Django tunes of all time the rocksteady skank of ‘Tired of Struggling’ that rides on Bob’s ‘Keep Moving’.
I was fortunate enough to catch King Django quite a few years ago at the Underworld in Camden, London and this album has served also as a reminder of what a great performer he is as well. So until I get the chance to catch him live again I’ll just have to make do with this for although the production and sound quality is so good for a live album you think it was recorded in a studio, there is still just enough live feeling left to make you feel like your having your own personal show from the man himself. In a word excellent!
Download Here
Stubborn Records CD Here

Track Listing
01 Does He Love You
02 Rise to Find You
03 Tired of Struggling
04 Hey, Bartender
05 Take Your Chances
06 As Tears Go By
07 Crop No Drop
08 Avenue A
09 Move Like Ya Gone
10 A Single Thread
11 Not Like a Star
12 Precipice
13 Trying to Be Something
14 Fistful a Riddim
15 Nex Finga
16 Jump Dung
17 Reason
18 LKO

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